The attachment of technically innovative British filmmaker Gareth Edwards (Monsters) as director of Legendary Pictures’ long-mooted Godzilla reboot was met with a healthy level of optimism when announced, as were the cast additions of Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, Olsen sister Elizabeth and French arthouse queen Juliette Binoche. After several months of leaked test footage and mouthwatering concept art, today we were finally given the first shadowy glimpses of Edwards’ ‘King of Monsters’, a clear homage to Ishirô Honda’s gargantuan creation that Roland Emmerich cuddly giant sea iguana. The teaser trailer, a tense and gripping short in and of itself, has certainly seemed to please the global kaiju-loving collective.
Accompanying today’s two-minute trailer came the following official Warner Bros. synopsis for 2014’s Godzilla: An epic rebirth to [Studio] Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. The first question poised by the above snippet, as well as today’s official trailer, is just who are these “malevolent creatures.” Humankind itself would seem the obvious answer, with Honda’s Gojira originally born in the fires (and resulting nuclear fallout) of a the a-bomb – a monstrous by-product of our species’ own endless hunger for self-destruction.
Or could we be about to witness the return of a Gigan, Mothra or Rodan? Giving the realist, Monsters-eque footage revealed so far, the latter hypothesis would appear unlikely. We begin with a crack team of soldiers (leading man Aaron Taylor-Johnson among them) diving through the clouds towards the remnants of a ruined city (London, perhaps?) before an enormous mass lurches out from the smouldering rubble below. We then get some choice glimpses of the film’s other key human players – including Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Ken Watanabe – before our chief antagonist announces himself with one almighty guttural roar.
It’s difficult to think of too many monster movies released outside of Hollywood’s Golden Age with an ensemble cast to rival that of Edwards’ here. Even more promising is the darker tone that appears to have been adopted, with death as well as destruction clearly wreaked by this most terrible of lizards (bodies strewn next to a crushed train being just one example). Taylor-Johnson may still have his naysayers outside of the Kick-Ass franchise, but it’s almost certainly the titular leviathan itself – as well as his new British master – that will draw back in those disheartened by Roland Emmerich’s disastrous, US-centric disaster epic.
Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla revival is released in UK cinemas on 16 May, 2014, in both 2D and 3D formats.